Grau, Lavon and Helen

Interviewed by Charlotte Wangrin, Holgate, Ohio, October 21, 2002

C. Mr. Grau, you started telling me a really good story. Do you want to continue and tell that story again?

L. Back in 1928 what happened to start it all Defiance was making a big hoo-do about an ethanol plant up in Hicksville. OK-uh-that’s nothing new. In 1948 there was a lot of ethanol plants around New Bavaria but at that time they didn’t call ’em ethanol, they called ’em stills. And every Sunday afternoon we’d have a ball game and we’d go to a ball game and if you wuz fortunate and had a nickel you’d buy a bottle of Coke. And if you wuz fortunate and still had a dime left you could get a highball. They would open the Coke, pour out and fill it with Moonshine. They called it White Lightning or Moonshine. And I said later on Defiance said they had to get so many sightings in the plant to ship the ethanol to the east. Well, times were tough and everything and they had the CCC , the Civilian Conservation Corps. (phone interrupts)

C. You said they were sending fellows to the west?

L. No. They were sending– people from around here was all goin’ west: Washington, Oregon, all that. I thought that’d be a good thing to see the west so I joined the CCC’s and Sheriff Bartels hauled us to Toledo. There was myself, a few from Florida and a few from Napoleon, so we got on a train, went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky. In two weeks they was issued all World War I uniforms, that is, fatigues. They didn’t everything so I was fortunate. I was put on KP duty at night. I had to see that fires under the 50-gallon barrels of water was kept so they could wash their dishes in the morning. Our uniforms was World War I uniforms so we spent two weeks at Ft. Knox. It was all under Army regulations and they loaded us up, put us on a train. I thought, “Boy, I’ll get to go to the west coast.”

C. Get to travel, right?

L. Well, I went to sleep. In the morning the conductor woke us up and said, “You’re close to your destination. If you look out you can see the tower.” Cleveland tower, 135 miles from home. ( laughs) So they unloaded us, took us to a new camp in South Euclid. OK, there was a all new, had three barracks for the men. They had a mess hall, had a hall for the Army personnel to live and a doctor’s office. Well, when we got there there was a big pile of cinders on the parade ground and when I signed up I signed up for truck driver cause that’s what I was when I was 16, 17 years old. And they finally said-uh-“All truck drivers step forward.” I thought there was a nigger in the woodpile somewhere so I didn’t step forward. A bunch of ‘ern all stepped forward. The Sergeant said, “Follow me.” He took ‘ern all to the supply canteen and they all came back with wheelbarrows and shovels. These cinders was all from the light plant out of Cleveland. So they’d hauled that and scattered it around in paint drums, and three days later they come and see me. The said, “You signed up for a truck driver? Well, we’re goin’ to Akron to get some trucks.” So they was three of us, they took us to Akron. We got three trucks and-uh-brought ‘ern back and I thought I was to do Akron work but they worked us in the Cleveland Metropolitan Park area. And-uh-so we had a party boss and I got in pretty good with him so all I had to do was haul the men to work, come back and get the food, take it out and they ate and we took it back. Then we was done for awhile, come back and set around awhile until it was time to bring ‘ern back from work. We was making trails, cuttin’ trails, walk paths for people to walk through the Metropolitan area and we made bridges across the ditches. And we’d cut the wood in [blank space] cut the logs, put the logs down, then put logs on top of it across them, then fill it up with dirt so they had a place to walk. Then my boss come to me and he said, “Can you string a three-wheel block and tackle?” I said, “Well yeah but you gotta get me two men.” So he gave me two men and I tied one end of the block to one tree and the other end to the other tree and at that time you didn’t have any plans or anything. You had to know how to grade em. So he’d grade ’em and I strung ‘ern and that put me pretty good with him, see, so about every month I could get a three-day pass and Friday nights I thumbed my way to Holgate. And-uh Herb Bartels picked me up at the Henry County line one time and he said, “I hauled you out of the county and now I gotta haul you back.”

Well anyway the whole thing goes back to the-a-I got $30.00 a month, board and room. $25 was sent home to my mother. My father was passed away so that left me with five bucks, so I got two canteen books which was a dollar apiece and I was left with three dollars, and so that’s what we lived on.

C. Five dollars for a month.

L. That’s what we got for the month and when the canteen book was gone you was out of luck for the rest of the month. You didn’t have any money. So I got in good with the cook so anytime I wanted anything to eat I’d go see the cook and get it myself. ( laughs)

C. You probably got the best stuff too. ( laughs)

L. Yeah. Anyway it was a wonderful trip and I spent two years, ’32 & ’33 in there and then you had to come out. When you’d spent 18 months there you had to get out.

C. That was right in the depths of the depression wasn’t it?

L. That was in ’32 & ’33. So a lot of times I’d get home Friday night but a lot of times I didn’t get home till Saturday morning. And I walked a lot of times from Napoleon to Holgate and …

C. A pretty good walk!

L. Yeah, cause sometimes I couldn’t bum a ride. ( laughs) So then when I came back they said all truck drivers had to work same as the rest of the men. He said, “Do you know how to sharpen an axe?” I said, “Sure. I done it at home when I was a kid.” So, he give me a whetstone and I kept the axes and scythes sharpened and that’s all I had to do. Anything else?

C. Oh, that sounds great.

L. I don’t know what the camp number is ’cause I got my discharge in my wife’s cedar chest. But anyway, I took my wife to the hospital one time. But let’s start over.

C. O.K.

L. I met her, had a few dates, got married in 1938 and so at that time I drove semis, I done everything. I had no schooling. At that time you had A ,B,C,D & F for your grades. Too many F’s , and too many D’s, you stayed put. And I failed the 8th grade. I went to the Superintendant and said, “You give me a workin’ permit.” He said, “You’re not 16 yet.” So I said, “I’ll come to school in September. I’ll set there and look out the window until the last of January.

C. Isn’t that awful?

L. I said, “That’s my birthday.” I’ll be 16 and I said “If that’s what you want that’s what you’ll get.” So he said, “If that’s the case I’ll give you a work permit.” So then I got a work permit. I drove trucks before I went to the CCC’s. That’s why I put myself in as a truck driver. So then when I come out I worked on the WPA for a little while yet. I got a dollar a day. You think times are tough now. Back there [blank space]. So, we’ve been married for 64 years and-uh-good Lord willin’ I’ll be 91.

C. Is that right, yeah. So you’ve had a happy marriage all these years. How many years did you say?

L. 64.

H. 65 in February.

C. What was that wedding like?

H. We didn’t have one. We just went to the Rector and got married. It was a 10-cent show.

L. So when we got married I was making $12.00 a week–60 hours. Then the boss, the man I was working for felt sorry and he give me $3.00 more, so I was making $18.00 a week.

H. The three of us lived on that.

L. The three of us lived on that, my mother-in-law, her and myself That’s what we lived on.

H. Not too much. ( laughs)

L. Nowadays I don’t think there’s any school in Henry County or any other that fails any kids. They push ’em all along. And then the kids today, when they leave ‘ern out of school they don’t know what it’s all about. Now they’re holdin’ `em back, or they’re not holdin’ em back, they’re lettin ’em graduate but they don’t give them any diplomas. So I was self-taught. I was a welder trade; I was a carpenter and- a you name it, I’ll take it.

C. What other memories do you have of the Depression, when nobody had money?

L. We got along. When I was young I went out and worked for a farmer a dollar a day with board and room.

C. That was hard.

L. Yeah. The days it rained you took care of the livestock, cleaned out the stalls, curried the horses, done all that then you didn’t get paid for that day. That was for your board and room.

C. Wow!

B. His employers were relation. He didn’t like it.

L. That’s the way it is.

C. But you know , so many younger people now are afraid that we’ll go into a depression. They’re very much afraid of it. I don’t think it was all that bad.

B. They don’t live like we did. They require too much when they first get married.

L. Trouble with people today is, the men work at GM. What they gonna do? Turn that thing off

C. What did you say you got started making these things. You say you made this lamp?

L. I made the shade. Let’s back up. I was a mechanic, a self4aught mechanic and the man I worked for when we got married owned the school buses.            We worked on school buses. They was all owned privately and the man I worked for owned all Holgate and Hamler school buses. So I took care of the buses, serviced them and if they needed a valve-grind job I gave ’em a valve grind job. Anything they needed I repaired it, self-taught. And-uh-if a kid on a bus got unruly I’d open the door and said, “Walk.” They got out and walked. I was the boss when I drove the school bus. And I drove a different route every day so I knew what was goin’ on with the school bus. Then if Hamler had a bad one the man I worked for took me to Hamler, I picked the bus up, repaired it, took it back. Y’know how I got home? When I got done working 1 walked the five mile back to Holgate.

C. Is that right?

L. So, when I worked in the blacksmith’s shopand they had an explosion I lost my left leg. So I got an artificial one, went back to work. Then I couldn’t do blacksmith work no more so I went to work repairing refrigerators, stoves, and I went in the implement business for Ray Kohl. At that time Kohl had two, three boys and they wanted me to start shuffling serial numbers just because the sheriff over at Napoleon had a washer and it was over a year old and he wanted me to use somebody else’s name so he could get it done free. So I said, “That’s it.” I quit. Had no job, no sight of any and at that time my boy was just young and he had the chicken pox so I stayed home. She was workin’ in Ottawa, Pennsylvania Electric, the picture tube plant. So she went to work to help us out.

C. Oh, so you were a stay-at-home father for a while.

B. Couple weeks ‘s all.

L. Couple weeks. I went out to start on a job. I went over to Clevite, over in Napoleon, and-uh-no job. So I went from there to Malinta to that factory that was a welding shop, welding chains and stuff like that. And he said the best he could was give me six weeks’ work but I didn’t want that so I went to Ottawa to the picture-tube plant and applied for a job. The next day they called me to work. I worked there for 22 years and in the meantime I was doin’ carpenter work t’home, buildin’ cabinets, takin’ care of things, self-taught. Nobody showed me anything, so I worked there 22 years and then I retired and I just started making odds and ends, yard ornaments, whatever I wanted to make.

B. Tell what you made in the house.

C. Yeah, what else did you make?

L. See that thing that sits on top there? The bottom of it I got from Sauders. And Sauders

wanted something that would hold 40 tapes There’s not a nail in it. It’s all glued together.

B. He made me a …

L. I made that thing there. It has 32 lights in it.

C. Oh it lights up.L Turn that on. I took her to the hospital over to Paulding.

C. Why?

L. She has a pacemaker. So anyway I had to take her over there and I seen in the paper where a man from Sherwood had an article where he worked into TP’s so I came back from there, cut through Sherwood. I stopped and I said, “Is this man still livin’?” She said, “Yes” and she told me where he was so I went out and talked to him for quite a while and he helped build starter houses

C. In Napoleon?

L. No. In Florida at Independence Dam.

C. Oh in Defiance.

L. In Defiance, see. And he worked in CCC. He was in Defiance but where the camp was I don’t know. So he give me a magazine. I don’t know where it is. I’ve got it in a box. But

there’s this outfit in St. Louis prints this.

C. That’d be interesting.

L. Well, I’ll dig it out sometime and let you know. I don’t know if he’s livin’ anymore but he was about the same age I was.

C. Well you know the CCC did a lot. In Napoleon they built that shelter house; they dug the swimming pool. I don’t know what else they did. Do you know what they did?

L. Well there was a WPA too, and then there was another one. I forgot the name of it but they was three different ones. Now here in Holgate I worked on the WPA when I came back out and-a part time and-a-either before I went to CCC or afterward, I don’t know but we dug up tile, drain, sewers you know, cleaned ’em, put ‘ern back in and covered ‘ern up. Then the town was appropriated a lot of money and what they done, they put stone in all the alleys. We dug ’em up and put stone in, y’see. They were all grass, wasn’t worth a nickel. Hamler, they put the water lines in. They used their money to put water lines in.

C. Holgate didn’t have water lines?

L. We had, oh yeah. They’ve had water lines in here about a hundred years. They just took the cast iron line outa here a couple years ago. I fought with the town. They came as far as-uh-well when they put the sewer in, the sanitary sewer, they had to run a water line here clear out to the corporation. They run a 6″ out there. Then they come as far as here, then they came to the lumber company and stopped. This was 700 feet that they hadn’t put in. Well, our water was rusty and I raised cain and I went to Council and raised Hell and well, I done everything (laughs) and I said, “You done it all over. I will not pay my bill on water no more until you put a new water line in.” Just like they’re havin’ trouble in Defiance, well anyway, they’re doin’ the same thing. They’re replacin’ these cast iron lines in here. That was a 4″ pipe here and there wasn’t a hole any bigger than this here. It was all rusted out. Anyway, they put in a new one and at that time I put new water line, new sewer lines and everything under the house.

C. You did that?

L. No, I had it done. We done it see, and so I had it hooked into the new one, see, and so …

H. Before you had to be so careful–the neighbor lady she come over and she said, “How can I get it out? I don’t know.”

C. Oh, rust, yeah.

L. While I was workin’ in Toledo Electric they just sold out to GenT&E. So when we finished that out well then I retired in 1975. I was 63 and I said, ‘Well, I’m gonna retire instead of workin’two more years. I won’t lose that much money till Social Security. Well, ’75, look what it is today so I didn’t lose any money at all. ( laughs) So then I was doin’ cabinet work while I was workin on this house. It was all all self-taught, see?

C. That’s right, that’s what hard times will do for you. It forces you to use ingenuity. H. My Dad was a carpenter.

C. Oh he was.

L. I learned when I was a kid. As a matter of fact I’ve got his tool box out in my shed right now, that he had when he was a carpenter. He worked on the railroad, so I got a job on the railroad.

C. What did you do?

L. Section hand. At that time we had two railroads, two sections for each direction. Four men and a boy and we done it all by hand.

C. What did you do?

L. Well, tamped, changed ties, cut weeks, done everything there was to keep the railroad running. At that time it was steam engines, nothing but steam engines, so I worked on there about a month and a half. There was a fellow that worked out here, Ed Kopf was his name, and he opened his pail. He had his cake and fruit, pie, everything on top and underneath he had his sandwiches and everything, you know .. I said, “How’s come you eat that cake and stuff first?”

L. He laughed and said, “Well, if I get full before I’ve eat my sandwich I’ve eat the best.” ( laughs) Well anyway, I worked on there and I finally said, “Well, all this needs is a strong back and a weak mind.” So that’s when I become a mechanic, repair farm machinery, stuff like that. And I taught myself to electric weld, acelatene weld, stuff like that.

H. When the war was on he was

C. Oh and he too care of the plowshares, and the different tools.

L. Then they came out with steel blade for plowshares. They had steel and they had cast iron. We’d just weld a new blade on it, put on a new one put a new point on and that stuff. We’d grind ‘ern up and it was hard work.

C. Did you weld at Gilson Screen in Malinta?

L. That’s where I was goin’ to go and I can’t think of the name, was it Hall? Was wounded. Well anyway, that’s the one that could only give me six months’ work.

C. Oh yeah.

L. So I left the mechanic route. I drove semi for awhile and-uh-I got $25.00 a week drivin’ semi and 1 took $12.50 out of the expense money. The boss’d send her a check for $12.50 and that’s what we lived on, for a week. I left, what was it, before Thanksgivin’ and never got home till New Years”?

C. Do you mean the truck drivers had to stay away that long?

L. It was–they had brokers, see, and this semi was only 18 feet long, single-axle trailer, see, so I hauled beef from Chicago to Louisville and when I got to Louisville I didn’t have no way of gettin’ back so I went to another company, threw the keys on the desk and told ’em I wanted a load for Chicago. They loaded it up with whiskey and I drove it back to Gary, Indiana, and instead of dead-headin’ I got $4.50 to pay the gas comin’ back. Now do you think times wasn’t tough?

C. So you got to stop home then on your way to Chicago.

H. No! He had to go on.

L. Then I’d get to Cleveland, well I went to Buffalo one trip and-uh-so I hadn’t smoked. I didn’t smoke when we got married. So I broke down in Marl , Ohio by the Ohio River and no place to go and I was nervous and everything else so I bought a pack of cigarettes. No show to go to and had a couple drinks but not much money to pay for them. So that’s how I started smokin’ again. That lasted till ’84 when I went over to a hypnotist over in Napoleon–can’t say his name–but anyway, when I got done I said, “How much do I owe you?” He said, “$60.00” So I paid him $60.00 and I came home and I told her, I said-uh-‘Do this for another 60 bucks, I can’t afford that’ so I just quit right now and that was in ’84 I quit smokin and I quit drinkin’, so I never went to the bar, only on Saturday when we got our check. I’d go to the bar up there. I’d get my check cashed, have a couple drinks and come home. At that time my son, he bought me a case of Kessler’s he bought in Indiana, whiskey, and he brought it back and give it to me. I said, “Why I’ve quit drinkin’.” He said, “That’s a hell of a time to stop.” So I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll get rid of it.” And my nephew down here, he works at the Northwestern Fire Dept., see, so I told “Mike,” I said, “I’ve got a case of whiskey. Do you want to pay me for it and auction it off for [blank space] and so I got the money that my son paid for it in Indiana; they raffled it off and got twice as much as he paid for it. It depends on how you work it, see?

H. We never wished for anything. When he’d get home from work why he’d have a—you know–a drink here.

L. I’d go out there in the kitchen and drink it. I have a bottle of Kessler’s that’s still settin’ there and it’s never been touched since I quit. My grandson has a drink out of it every once in a while. But anyway to go back to that-uh-Ethonol where I told you this guy was. He was in an hamburger joint, I was in the CC’s, and he asked me where Holgate was and I told him. He says, “Do you know where Dover is? It’s within six miles of you. I get all my whiskey there.” So we wuz into the business long before this. So I’ve had a pretty good life.

C. I can tell you people have had a happy marriage because you’re pretty contented.

L. Oh we get into arguments.

C. Oh yeah. You gotta have an argument once in a while to keep things interesting.

H. [Blank space]

C. So how did you live when you were first married and you didn’t have any money? How did you manage?

H. Well we only had to pay $8.00

L. The rent. How much do you think our rent was? C. I don’t know.

L. $5.00.

H. No, $8.00.

L. And lights: you had one hangin’ in the middle of the room with a chain on it and her parents, well the first year we lived together with my mother. Then we moved out and got a place here in town, Detter’s was the name, wasn’t it, and no water. We had to carry water by hand from the pump outside.

H. Had to haul water in a wagon from his aunt’s over to our place to do a washin’. There was a cistern there and .. .

C. How far was that?

H. We used the cistern for some things but it wasn’t no good. C. How far was that you had to carry it?

L. Three blocks.

C. Three blocks?

L. Yeah, about 1500 feet.

C. That’s a long way, carryin’ water.

L. We het water on the stove to do the washin’, and we had a tub and a warshboard.

H. It wasn’t very long we did that. Cause you wanted a radio for the living room, I said, “O.K. If you can afford a radio I can buy a used washer.” I went up there, [blank] had some at the Hardware there. There was a store washer on sale for fifteen bucks. I bought it and I used that for four or five years until I got a new one.

C. $15.00. My!

H. Yeah. And he got his radio.

L. I paid five dollars for the radio.

H. He paid fifteen dollars for the radio unless you lied to me. ( laughs)

L. Well anyway I could go out there and get you a book and show you everything we bought from the day we was married. That sounds crazy, don’t it. And I bought this house in ’54. I was workin’ in the   and this man. They had an old man and they’d talk German and Henry Schweibert, they lived out east of here, well Rd. 10 and on down a half a mile, then across the railroad track and then back across the railroad track in the way and-uh-I told him one time I said, “Henry, you’ve lived here all your life, the biggest share of it. Can’t you talk English? You’ve talked Dutch and I don’t hear a damn word you say.” ( laughs) Well, when I lived here there was a guy, he worked for Ray Kohl and Henry Lufts and he was a renter. I told Henry one time, I said, “If you ever want to sell that house up there across form the elevator give me a chance on it will you?” He said, “Yeah.” So he come in one day and he said, “I’m gonna sell that house. Wanta buy it?” I said, “Well, Henry Lufts lived here a long time,” I said-uh-“Give him the first chance.” So we got talkin’ back and forth and he said, “Well anyway,” Henry told me to go to the bank and get the money. He said “There hain’t no money there.” So I went out to his place there and I talked to her. She’d been in it. I’d never been in it but I loved the way it was made and everything. I said, “Henry and I was sittin’ in his garage out there and I said, ‘What do you want for it?’ He said, ‘I’ll sell it to ya for $5,000.’ I said, “Is that for everything?” He said “yeah.” I said, “Well, all I got in my pocket is $50.” I had that in my poketbook. I said, “Could I give you that for a down payment?” He said, “Would a handshake be all right?” So we shook hands. That’s how I bought this place for $5000 and I told him I had the money in the bank. That was 1938, or a little after ’38.

H. That was ’54, after I went to work and saved enough. L. ’54. We had that money in the bank.

H. I went to work, and .. .

L. Saved enough of that so I said to Henry, I said, “Well, we’ll go up there to the bank and draw it out, you can leave it there or do whatever you want. He said to just leave it there so I just transferred it from my name to his name.

C. But you said there wasn’t any money in the bank?

L. He didn’t.

C. Oh, Lufts didn’t have any money.

L. No. He was broke.

H. The one that lived in here. He would always blow, you know. I worked for her in the restaurant, you know. That’s before I went to the factory.

L. Yeah. He was a talker, drank it all up.

I. I worked in his restaurant.

L. Yeah, she worked in the restaurant up here and the guy she worked for wouldn’t even give me my meals. I had to pay for them. That’s what all we went through.

L. Are you old enough to remember when Swiss Gardens was in Holgate? C. Yeah. I danced there a few times.

L. I worked there as a bartender.

C. Oh you did?

H. (laughs) I waited tables.

L. First she went in as a hat check.

H. I didn’t know one check from another. ( laughs) He said, “Well you’re old enough to go on the floor and serve. We’ll use younger ones as hat-check.” I said, “You’re gonna have to tell me what’s what.” ( laughs)

L. So when I bought this, this had a partition in here and that was a bedroom. So when I got it I tore it out, and

H. Oh, we tore it out before we moved in.

L. Well, we moved in and what we done-uh-when we got enough money we’d fix the roof When we got enough money we’d fix another roof and these ceilings were twelve foot high.

H. Twelve foot high. We lowered all the ceilings.

L. Bert Barr was a carpenter at that time and I had him do the work. I had him do all the panels and when we got enough money we’d do some more and that’s just how we got it done.

C. Just kept workin’.

H. We didn’t have the kitchen done before we moved in. They wuz no cupboards in the kitchen at all.

L. They was an old sink hangin’ on the wall and-uh-two places had what they called pantries. H. They was two pantries.

L. And-uh-the water, all the plumbing and everything I done myself.

C. That’s a big job.

L. And-uh-Mike Schwab put the bathroom in. His wife’s still livin’ and he lives up here in Holgate.

C. One thing, when you lowered the ceilings did you notice any difference in your fuel bill?

L. Well when we first moved in here I was on LP gas. I had a stove here that was a chimney here went out the top and-uh-these walls isn’t insulated. And I put siding on and that’s got an insulating board in it. I’ve seen too many of these blown-in insulation (that’s before they had fiberglass) got wet. That’d rot the bottom sill out so I never went for that. I figured I could pay a little more without that. Out here in the country they had it blown in. It was nothin’ but shredded newspaper. That’s all that blown-in insulation is, but now later they’ve improved it. But when they first started it was shredded newspaper and when that got wet and if it settled it’d never dry out. So-uh-I never done anything to it, but they was insulation in the top ceiling, the old–

C. The old ceiling.

L. Well then, I made a mistake. When I first put this in I didn’t have insulation put in this. There’s a false ceiling like that there.

C. Well that would help anyway.

H. Yeah, when we put that in we had to get up in there and throw it back in to get it in the middle. ( laughs)

L. Most all the wiring that was added I done.

C. Oh, you did wiring too.

H. That he did.

L. That was a porch out there. I just used the roof. I had to put the walls and flooring in, so when I run wire all through that I used So then when I put this in, Paul Chubb worked down here I said, “Now there’s a box right in there full of electrical wiring you could run from here over to there.” They used to be a switch up there where I took the light out, see, that’s how I had that put in. Well then everything else I did myself. Didn’t pay to do it. Did it myself That’s the same way my antenna. I bought that antenna off of [blank]. Who is it?

H. I don’t know.

L. Who was in the hospital the same time I was?

H. Oh, Kruey.

L. See how I have to go back? I bought it off of Kruey here. Thirty-five foot I paid $25.00 for it. I put it all up myself. Put my own antenna up and all, strung that all in and-uh-I could get all the Ft. Wayne stations with that antenna and cable goes right by here but if I put cable in I lose all that.

H. He can get all 13 stations.

L. That is on Ft. Wayne right now.

C. That’s clear!

L. But-uh- then I bought the stuff and I put an antenna in the back, so we’ve got one in the kitchen. Did it all myself

C. Well you know they say Necessity is the Mother of Invention so when you’re in a spot like you people were where you didn’t have anything you learned to do it yourself.

L. But, but, but, try this. Here’s somethin. I thought and thought and thought H. Crocheting. That’s what I do.

L. I made a block. I covered it and everything.

H. I got four of these, to put my crochet thread in.

C. That’s so much better than havin’ that ball roll all over the floor.

H. He sells them.

L. I sell ’em if anybody wants to buy any. My brother-in-law over there in Fostoria, he found something that had a cone-like but it didn’t work. So I was working in Sylvania and they had a bunch of test racks where they put a bunch of picture tubes in and test them you know, and everything and they tore them out and they was screws and everything laying all over the floor. And I said to the accounting boss over there, I said, “What you gonna do with all that stuff’?” Why,” he said, “I’m gonna sweep it up and throw it in a barrel.” I said, “You mean you’re gonna get rid of it?” “Yeah.” “If I sweep it up can I have it?” “Yeah.” “Will you give me a slip so I can carry it out?” “Yeah.” So I swept it up and I had a whole can full of screws and nuts and everything like that. If you had to buy it now it’d cost you twelve bucks. So I made four of those things.

But anyway I thought maybe I can figure out somethin’. So I kept figurin’, figurin’, figurin’ and I finally come up with that see. So I had an idea I’d have it pattened. But I found out it cost $6,000 to patten it, so I thought “I don’t have that kind of money and-uh so I never done anything with it, just gave it up.

C. My friend, Judy Heitman’s father (she was a Hahn before she was married), her father she said invented the corn picker. He never got any money for it.

H. Yeah, that’s it!

(Here I omitted part of the tape because it was mostly idle conversation, didn’t pertain to the subject.)

L. But anyway, on your radio 1280 is Defiance. 1220 you get Van Wert and you get on it old records all the time… Yeah, it’s not how much you make. It’s what you can save from what you make.

C. That’s good advice.

L. If you take 10% of what you make, your wages, and put it away you can have a lot of money. I’ve got a lot of stuff here that we took out during the war (WWII). And we had $2000 and I bought a Certificate of Deposit. I kept takin’ the interest then finally decided to let the interest pile up so do you know what it’s worth today? $10,000 from $2000.

H. It’s a good idea to let it pile up when we don’t need it like that. It’s in CD’s.

L. When we got married I had a little Essex Super Six car with a rumble seat. When we got married then I bought a 1938 Ford in 1940. What’d that car cost, $250?

H. $300.

L. So I went to the bank and that’s what I borrowed. I’ve never borrowed a dime since. The first new car I owned was in 1953, I paid cash for it, and every car I bought since I paid cash for it.

C. That’s pretty good. Let’s go back a bit. You mentioned a car with a rumble seat and I’ll bet a lot of people don’t know what rumble seats are. Would you tell them?

L. Rumble seat is where the trunk is, the trunk of the car just had a kind of a hump in it. You pulled that out the back and there was a seat in there. Two people could sit in it. There was a step about that big around…

(end of tape)

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